Thursday, December 18, 2014

‘Time to be colour blind and see each other as Malaysians’


PUBLISHED: Dec 17, 2014 05:54pm
UPDATED: Dec 17, 2014 08:18pm
RAJVINDER SINGH
BY: 
RAJVINDER SINGH
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Ikram vice-president Zaid Kamaruddin points out that the Federal Constitution is comprehensive and covers everyone's rights, in voicing support for a joint statement issued by 25 concerned Malaysians earlier. — TRP pic by Mokhsin Zamani
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17, 2014:
The issue of religion and race must be discussed in a non-adversarial approach, said Zaid Kamaruddin, vice-president  of the Muslim non-governmental organisation (NGO), Ikram.
He said when looking at the Federal Constitution, everyone must look at it in its entirety, adding that if one were to pick and choose parts of the Constitution, there would always be something in someone’s favour.
Zaid pointed out that the Constitution was comprehensive and covered everyone’s rights.
He was speaking at a press conference this morning organised to show support for the joint statement issued by 25 concerned Malaysians, who were former high-ranking government officers, ambassadors and professionals.
The statement supporting the 25 was endorsed by 93 NGOs. Only 23 of them were present at the press conference.
Zaid said the time had come for people to stop seeing each other based on race, and called on everyone to be colour blind and see each other as Malaysians.
Zaid, when reading the statement issued by the NGOs, said often in a nation’s history, extremists had triumphed, not because they enjoyed the support of the majority, but because the majority was silent and idle.
He thanked the 25 for choosing not to be passive and for voicing their dismay and abhorrence at the current state of the nation.
“In the spirit of peace, muhibah and nation building, all Malaysians need to engage in a healthy, rational and civil discourse on pressing national issues and silence the voice of hate and extremism,” Zaid said in the statement.
Jihad for Justice chairman Datuk Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Haj, who was also at the press conference, said Perkasa and Isma had been given undue importance, considering they were only small groups.
He said these two were fighting against a perceived threat which was non-existent.
“They (Perkasa and Isma) only know how to shout and make threats but are unwilling to come forward and hold proper discussions,” he said.
Thasleem pointed out that the Constitution protected everyone’s rights, and there was no need to make a hue and cry about just certain sections of it.
“Listening to Perkasa and Isma will only give a person ear-ache,” he said, calling on the media to starve them of the oxygen they needed to survive, which was publicity.
Read more: http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2014/12/17/time-colour-blind-see-malaysians/#ixzz3MDuwXewC

Four BFM DJs may be the next to be charged under Sedition Act

DALIA ISMAIL
BY: 
DALIA ISMAIL


PUBLISHED: Dec 18, 2014 12:54pm
UPDATED: Dec 18, 2014 01:05pm
BFM-logo-(M)

The four BFM89.9 deejays involved were Sharaad Kuttan, Umapagan Ampikaipakan, Caroline Oh and Patrick Teoh. — TRP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18, 2014:

Four BFM89.9 radio deejays might be investigated under the Sedition Act for airing an interview that touched on Islamic religious sensitivities.
The deejays involved were Sharaad Kuttan, Umapagan Ampikaipakan, Caroline Oh and Patrick Teoh.
This is following a police report that was lodged today by nine non-governmental organisations (NGO) at the Dang Wangi police station.
Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) officer Mohd Mustaffa Hamzah, who led the  team lodging the reports, said the radio station aired a topic that touched on Muslim sensitivities in two interviews that aired on the same day,  last Dec 12.
“At around 7pm to 8am, radio deejay Sharaad Kuttan discussed the topic ‘Kalimah Allah’, the issue of sacrificial meat, and rights of the Malays.

“On the same day, at around 6pm to 7pm, radio deejay Umapagan Ampikaipakan, Caroline Oh and Patrick Teoh also discussed the issue of Islam and the wearing of the headscarf,” he alleged at a press conference outside the police station today.
Mustafa said the interviews had elements of insult and sedition against Islam.
“We stay in Malaysia where there are people of different races and religion.
“We hope that the producers and editors of the radio station involved, will respect the official religion and not raise racist issues,  and respect the federal constitution,” he urged.
Isma deputy president Aminuddin Yahya, who was also present,  urged police to investigate the radio station that has been operating for six years now.
He said the report was made after several complaints were lodged with PPIM, adding that they wanted action to be taken against those responsible in the radio station under the Sedition Act.
The NGOs also want the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to monitor other radio stations in the country for content that might raise racial and religious tension.
“We want the ministry to not miss out on broadcast content of radio stations, especially those in English.
“Most of BFM’s listeners were the young and their delivery is in English, which may not reach Malays who rarely listen to them,” said Aminuddin, adding that the deejays were also non-Muslims, who were non-experts on Islamic matters.
Read more: http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2014/12/18/four-bfm-djs-may-next-charged-sedition-act/#ixzz3MDtQNtZD

Naturalised aliens – after Sabah, is Sarawak next?





18/12/2014 - 09:30     

Jimmy Adit

OUTSPOKEN: Sarawak should better take note that the one very important lesson to be learned from Sabah’s “Project IC” is that those foreigners who have been given citizenship will live and die in Sabah like any natural Sabahan. 

These foreigners will continue to determine the political directions of the Land below the Wind according to the dictate of those who granted them their citizenship.

And because these foreigners give their masters unquestionable loyalty, their socio-economic wellbeing is being taken care of in the way any master takes care of the general wellbeing of a loyal subject.

Today, natural Sabahans have awakened to the stark reality that after years of being too trusting, allowing others to run their lives and decide their political future for them, they are fast losing their homeland. Natural Sabahans are being edged out economically, politically and socially.

In their midst are 1.7 million foreigners, consisting of 600,000 new Bumiputera citizens holding blue ICs issued by NRD, 750,000 with fake ICs or no documents, and a further 400,000 holding immigration document IMM13.

These frightening statistics are contained in a report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry set up on Aug 1, 2012 to investigate problems related to illegal immigration in Sabah.

Former Dewan Rakyat senator and state assemblyman Chong Eng Leong alleged in 2012 that 200,000 of these foreigners were on Sabah electoral roll!

In his book called “Agenda Borneo”, a State Reform Party (STAR) member Nestor Joannes says Project IC or Project M (for then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the man said to be behind the neutralisation of Sabahans programme) saw a 302 per cent rise in Sabah’s population between the 1970s and 2000. In comparison, Sarawak, which had more people in the 1970s than Sabah, only saw a 106 per cent rise in its population.

“To secure Umno’s grip on Sabah, they used foreigners who had been given ICs by the federal government. (These foreigners) then became Umno supporters,” Nestor writes.

If Sarawak is not careful, or if it fails to learn from the Sabah experience, it could be the next target of a not-quite dissimilar neutralisation programme. The state’s more than a million hectares of oil palm plantations are fertile ground that makes for a perfect excuse to bring in those foreigners. 

In Sabah, the foreigners started in the oil palm plantations and acacia estates. It is highly probable that this was what played in the mind of Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot when he warned against taking lightly the influx of foreign workers, hardly a week after he announced that the government had approved bringing in 12,000 Bangladeshis for oil palm plantations in Sarawak.

Party Rakyat Sarawak president Tan Sri Dr James Masing and opposition legislator See Chee How were among several state leaders who voiced similar concerns while Sarawakians at large lambasted Umno for plotting another Project IC, and this time against Sarawak.

Their suspicion of an Umno plot was further ignited when an Umno delegate demanded that the human resource minister post be “given back” to an Umno man. 

“Perhaps the time has come for the labour ministerial job to be ‘given back’ to Umno so that the Malay agenda can be more clearly championed by the ministry,” said Datuk Shaiful Hazizy Zainol Abidin when debating Umno president Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s policy speech at the recent Umno General Assembly.

Sarawakians are asking: Does Shaiful Hazizy feel that Umno will not have a free hand in bringing foreigners into Sarawak’s plantations for as long as Riot, a Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) MP, remains the human resource minister? Will not the Malay agenda he was talking about involve issuing ICs to the foreigners so that they can get into Sarawak’s electoral roll?

It does look like Sarawak’s Achilles’ heel today is its more than a million hectares of oil palm plantations. 

The state’s leaders are well-advised to stop the federal government’s plan to bring in 12,000 Bangladeshi workers for plantation companies pending full consultation with the state government on the state’s need for foreign labourers, on its labour policy and on its security.

In fact, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem must look at the plantations closely and take stock of the problem of illegal foreign workers, which if let to fester could force Sarawak to go the Sabah way.

We have seen how Sabah’s Project IC started with mass immigration and then followed by the naturalisation of migrants in the 1970s. 

By the time allegations of its existence surfaced in the 1990s, there was already a sharp increase of "Malays", as well as the large number of "Other Bumiputeras". 

There was also the significant drop in the percentage of the non-Muslim population namely, Kadazandusuns, Muruts, and Chinese. 

This could very well be the Malay agenda referred to by the Umno delegate, who might not be aware that Sarawak never had any specific agenda for any race, whether Malay, Chinese or Dayaks. 

The project, according to the RCI, involved certain political parties as well as various government agencies including the Election Commission of Malaysia, the National Registration Department and the Immigration Department. 

The RCI’s recently released report absolved the government of ever creating Project IC, instead blaming corrupt officials and syndicates of creating the problem.

Other than that, nothing is solved. The naturalised foreigners are here to stay because that is one sure way the powers that be remain in control. 

JIMMY ADIT is a by-product of journalism’s school of hard knocks. A has-been politikus, today he relishes life in the fringes of politics. 

- See more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/Main/Naturalised-aliens-after-Sabah-is-Sarawak-next#sthash.YdeyGSiy.dpuf

Feedback not needed on boundary redrawing, elections chief tells Bersih

BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof says the commission is not going against the law if it refuses to meet civil society representatives. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 18, 2014.

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof says the commission is not going against the law if it refuses to meet civil society representatives. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 18, 2014.
The Election Commission (EC) will go ahead with the redelineation of electoral boundaries without input from civil society and will only engage groups identified in the Federal Constitution, said its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.
"We will stick to the provisions in the constitution on who we can meet in carrying out the task," he told The Malaysian Insider in Kuala Lumpur recently.
This means shutting the door on Bersih 2.0, the country's major civil society watchdog on polling and electoral reform, in favour of representatives from state governments and local authorities.
As far as the public's voice is concerned, the EC is only required by law to engage at least 100 voters registered in a constituency to hear their objections on proposed changes to boundary delimitation or on any increase in the number of state and parliamentary seats.
"We are not going against the law if we refuse to meet the civil society representatives," he said, in response to Bersih 2.0 chairman, Maria Chin Abdullah's call on the EC to obtain feedback from non-governmental organisations when conducting the exercise.
Aziz reiterated the importance of the long-overdue exercise to proceed as planned at the end of this year because the last one was conducted in 2003.
Usually held every eight years, the redelineation exercise should have been done in 2011 but it was deferred due to preparations for the 13th General Election held in May last year.
The EC has two years to either redraw electoral boundaries, or add state and parliamentary seats before the next general election scheduled in 2018.
Bersih has decried attempts by the EC to rationalise the need for more parliamentary and state seats, which critics see as an attempt to manipulate the next election in favour of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
Malaysia practices a first-past-the-post system where the winner of the most seats in the Dewan Rakyat forms the government of the day.
In the general election last year, however, BN only won 47% of the popular vote even though it managed to form the government. Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition, won 52% of the popular vote.
On Monday, Bersih said it would take the EC to court if it tabled a proposal to increase the number of constituencies without first amending the Federal Constitution.
The poll watchdog raised concerns that the EC would be acting unconstitutionally if it decided to push ahead with a seat increase without a prior amendment to Article 46, which stipulates the composition of the Dewan Rakyat or the number of parliamentary constituencies in each state. It would have to be amended if the EC were to increase the number of seats in a redelineation exercise.
Aziz, meanwhile, told The Malaysian Insider that the EC had the support of elected representatives and the public to create more seats to cater to development and a growing number of voters.
He said Bersih was entitled to its opinion to maintain the status quo of 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat.
Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah says an increase in the number of seats does not guarantee the people will be better served. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 18, 2014.Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah says an increase in the number of seats does not guarantee the people will be better served. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 18, 2014.But Maria had said that an increase in the number of parliamentary and state constituencies was no guarantee that people would be better served.
It would be better instead if existing elected representatives were empowered with support staff and financial allocations to perform their tasks, she had said.
Aziz was coy when asked whether the EC would indeed propose a seat increase in the Dewan Rakyat.
"Probably there will be and it all depends on the MPs," he said.
A two-thirds majority vote is needed in Parliament to amend Article 46 and approve any increase in the number of seats. Only a simple majority is required, however, to alter electoral boundaries.
With 134 seats currently, the ruling BN does not have the required number and would need the support from some of Pakatan Rakyat's 87 MPs to approve the exercise. One more MP, from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is an independent but aligned to Pakatan.
Aziz said the EC would inform the Dewan Rakyat Speaker when it was about to carry out the exercise to redraw boundaries and add parliamentary seats.
"We will go though the proper procedures, which includes displaying the new electoral map and holding inquiry if there are objections," he said.
He said the EC would finally prepare a report for the prime minister to table amendments in the Dewan Rakyat.
Bersih, however, yesterday said the EC was not being transparent enough in announcing when the redelineation exercise would begin.
The electoral reform group is concerned that the EC would begin the process without a public announcement, thus narrowing the window of time for civil society to study the proposed boundary changes to make objections. The objection period is only 30 days. – December 18, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/feedback-not-needed-on-boundary-redrawing-elections-chief-tells-bersih#sthash.nVMItRoU.dpuf

Prominent Malays spur Malaysians to launch #KamiJuga25



Published: 18 December 2014An online petition called #KamiJuga25 is the latest follow-up to the open letter by the 25 prominent Malays. – Screenshot of #KamiJuga25, December 18, 2014. 
An online petition called #KamiJuga25 is the latest follow-up to the open letter by the 25 prominent Malays. – Screenshot of #KamiJuga25, December 18, 2014.
Another group of Malaysians has started an open letter calling for rational dialogue in the face of racial and religious tension, underscoring the growing momentum started by 25 prominent Malays who earlier called for a peaceful discourse on Islam.
An online petition called #KamiJuga25, the Malay hashtag for “We are also 25”, has gathered 50 signatures as of this morning, adding to the increasing support for the 25 retired high-ranking civil servants whose December 9 open letter went viral.
This petition was started by Azrul Mohd Khalid, and signed by 24 other Malaysians of various faiths and races.
Addressed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the letter urged the country's leaders to stand with Malaysians to deliver the promise of a common vision that promotes "inclusiveness and celebrates the unity of its people through diversity".
The group stated that it rejected the notion that only Muslims could speak on matters which affect Muslims, and that non-Muslims must stay silent.
"We should never stay silent in the face of injustice, tyranny and persecution inflicted upon our brothers and sisters. We must speak up for each other."
Among others, it also rejected the claim that Islam is under attack in Malaysia and the view that supporting contrarian views is to being anti-Malay or anti-monarchy.
On the original 25 who inspired them, the signatories said their words inspired them and the nation.
They added the 25 brought into perspective the need to put an end to racism, bigotry, false promises and blind hatred.
The open letter by the prominent 25 decried the "lack of clarity and understanding" of Islam's place within Malaysia's constitutional democracy, as well as a "serious breakdown of federal-state division of powers, both in the areas of civil and criminal jurisdictions".
Signatories of the 19-paragraph letter consisted of former high-ranking civil servants, including directors-general, secretaries-general, ambassadors and prominent individuals.
Malay rights groups panned their actions. But the letter inspired others like L. Khairuddin to start an online petition called "I am #26" four days ago which had gathered more than 3,800 signatures.
The prominent Malays also received support from 22 Muslim activists and 93 civil society groups.
Race and religious relations have frayed further after GE13 last year when the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) blamed its heavier losses on the Chinese minority, fuelled by Malay-Muslim groups that seek more puritanical Islamic laws across Malaysia. – December 18, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/kamijuga25-latest-group-inspired-by-25-prominent-malays#sthash.QytZ4iR7.dpuf

Sweet victory for Bidayuh NCR landowners

11:16AM Dec 18, 2014
By Joseph Tawie
Despite threats of arrest and imprisonment, 31 native Bidayuh families of Kampung Bojong and Kampung Rejoi, led by Tua Kampung Simo Sekam, successfully fought a seven-year battle against the authorities for taking away their native customary rights land to build the Bengoh reservoir dam.

The High Court in Kuching this morning ordered the payment of compensation totalling RM2.14 million to 54 persons from the 31 families involved.

“This is not only a sweet victory for us, but a special Christmas gift.

“We will slaughter pigs to celebrate our victory after a hard-fought battle,” said Simo, pointing out that they had suffered severe hardships in defending their NCR land.

He said the families were threatened with arrest and imprisonment if they refused to move out from their ancestral lands that they and their forefathers had occupied for more than 160 years.

'We refused to move to another place'

“But we fought on and refused to move out to another place. Instead we moved to a higher ground that is not going to be submerged by the dam water,” said Simo, who is the first plaintiff in the suit filed against the Sarawak government.

Lawyer See Chee How, who represented the plaintiffs, said a consent order was recorded by High Court judge Rhodzariah Bujang, bringing the case which was filed in October 2009 to a close.

See said the consent order expressly states that the Superintendent of Lands and Surveys of Kuching Division and the Sarawak government acknowledged and recognised that the plaintiffs and other residents of Kampung Bojong and Kampung Rejoi, together with the residents of Kampung Taba Sait and Kampung Semban, had acquired native customary rights to the land totalling 2,592 hectares.

He said emanating from the consent order, the two villages – Kampung Taba Sait and Kampung Bojong – would have privileges over the area described in the Bungo Range National Park.

The privileges of the people of Kampung Semban and Kampung Rejoi had already been admitted in a Bungo Range National Park notification published in the Sarawak government gazette in  2010.

See (left) said that by the consent order, the plaintiffs and all those whom they represented should not occupy land within the Bengoh dam reservoir area.

An amount of RM2.14 million deposited in the court for the payment of the compensation to 54 named persons would be withdrawn by them, he said.

See, who is the assemblyperson for Batu Lintang, expressed his appreciation to the government in settling the long-standing case amicably.

“This case could take months if it went to trial, as it involves at least 30 witnesses testifying. However, the Lands and Surveys Division and the Sarawak government have gracefully agreed to acknowledge and recognise that the plaintiffs and other residents have acquired native customary rights to the land.” he said.

See praised Tua Kampung Simo and his group of 31 families for their conviction to defend and safeguard their land, pointing out that they had stood their ground when faced with numerous interlocutory applications filed by the defendants.

They had weathered and battled the attempts by the relevant authorities to declare their NCR land areas as national parks, he added.

Constructed at a cost of RM310 million, the Bengoh Dam, which was completed in 2010, has a retention capacity of 144.1 million cubic metres of water that is directed to the Batu Kitang treatment plant.

The plant supplies water to residents in Kuching and Samarahan.
~ Malaysiakini

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BARU BIAN: HARRASSMENT OF CHRISTIANS DEPLORABLE BUT UNSURPRISING


PRESS STATEMENT
16 DECEMBER 2014

We should not be surprised at the news that the police in Johor recently detained Father Cyril Mannayagam and seized his hymnals. I certainly am not for I predicted that such scenarios would happen when the court gave its ruling on the Allah case. I said at the time that despite the assurances that the decision was confined to the Herald and the 10-point ‘solution’ put forward by the government, the effects of the decision would be felt far beyond the readership of the Herald. It gives me no joy to have been proven right.

It is outrageous that a small group of Orang Asal Christians and their priest should made to suffer the indignities and deprivation that they have endured, particularly during the Advent season leading up to Christmas. Malaysians should be alarmed by the fact that the police are now venturing into religious policing, emboldened perhaps by the impunity with which the religious bigots have been carrying out their disgraceful activities.

I have asked this question and I will ask it again: Who is running this country? Is it the government of Najib Razak or is it the religious authorities egged on by the likes of the repugnant and vacuous Perkasa and Isma? Every rational Malaysian can see that Najib Razak has caved in, cowering to the demands of the extremist groups and washed his hands of protecting the rights of the minority Malaysians.

I wish to echo the words of Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) president Rev Dr Justin Wan, who said of the Allah ban:  “The prohibition not only prohibits the physical act of using the prohibited words. The effect goes deeper by taking away our members’ means of obtaining hope, spiritual strength and sense of purpose. In a sense, the prohibition takes away from us the most important thing in our lives.” Our Federal Constitution guarantees our rights but the very people who are entrusted to honour those guarantees have failed us. Does anyone care about the constitutional rights of the hundreds of thousands of Sarawakian and Sabahan Christians who live and work in West Malaysia and of the Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christian Orang Asal there? It truly saddened me to read that the Sultan of Selangor said the seized Al-Kitab were stamped to ensure they are kept out of Selangor.

I am thankful for the 25 eminent Malays who have recently made their voices heard, and the many Muslims who are coming forward to be #26 in supporting the rational and logical letter signed by the 25. What a blessing these voices are to Malaysians, especially to Christians this Christmas season. It gives us hope that the increasing voices of the moderate Muslims will drown out the childish name-calling, hateful insults and empty bluster and bravado of Perkasa, Isma and the extremist groups in UMNO Baru.

Now that the previously silent Malays have been moved to speak up against intolerance and extremism, the silence of the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Attorney General is even more deafening. They would be wise to take heed of the wishes of the majority of Malaysians who do not want to be associated with extremist and supremacist bigots.

Baru Bian
Chairman, PKR Sarawak
ADUN, N70 Ba’ Kelalan.

English proficiency among law graduates on the decline, research shows

Published: 17 December 2014
Lawyers say fresh graduates lack important soft skills, including proficiency in English. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 17, 2014.

Lawyers say fresh graduates lack important soft skills, including proficiency in English. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 17, 2014.
Malaysian lawyers believe that English proficiency among fresh law graduates is on the decline, with many worried about rising grammatical errors in written documents, according to a study on the communication skills of law students in Universiti Malaya (UM).
Lawyers interviewed in the one-year study by UM’s Faculty of Law and Faculty of Language and Linguistics also said that those who recently entered the profession lacked important soft skills.
“While some senior lawyers bemoaned the declining proficiency of English among recent graduates, many legal professionals took a more practical approach to the problem, saying that the students and new lawyers would naturally improve their spoken English over time as they gained more experience with their work,” said the study’s principal investigator, Dr Nurjanaah Chew Li Hua, in a summary of the findings made available to The Malaysian Insider
“It was found that many students struggle with a lack of confidence in speaking English.
"Deficient soft skills among law graduates were highlighted by the lawyers interviewed. Many of them put priority on skills such as public speaking, politeness, workplace familiarity and professional etiquette.”
The study, which was completed last month, involved interviews with 22 academicians at both the university’s faculties, nearly 400 UM law students as well as 20 pupil masters and new lawyers in the legal profession.
According to Nurjanaah, the study found that many of the undergraduates preferred to stick to the language they used at home, making them less confident about speaking in another tongue.
“While it was found that the older students are more likely to be multilingual, the younger students tend to use the one language that they feel comfortable with,” added Nurjanaah, who is a senior lecturer at UM’s Faculty of Law.
However, researchers were surprised to see that the vast majority of students (85%) scored enough to be considered good or competent users of the English language in a test designed to identify their level of general academic English proficiency, said Nurjanaah.
“The students are better at speaking and listening skills compared to writing skill. This finding is supported by the fact that many of the lawyers interviewed are more worried about the increase in grammatical errors in written documents than the level of spoken English.”
The study also found that for research and revision, the majority of the students preferred using English, and over 98% of the students interviewed said if given the choice between either English or Malay for writing reports, they preferred the former.
She said that this may be due to the fact that most materials are in English, and that students may feel that a good grasp of the language was necessary for a successful career.
But Nurjanaah said that while UM’s law students were using more English than students of two decades ago, senior lawyers widely reported a declining level of English proficiency among those recently entering the profession.
“Most law lecturers in UM tend to rely more on English during their lessons as many of them feel more comfortable teaching in English, and this also reflects the preference of most students.
“There is, however, no evidence that the use of English as the main medium of instruction has significantly improved the students’ communication skills over the years.”
On the contrary, there was a high probability that the emphasis on using English as the medium of instruction would hinder the students’ ability to use Bahasa Malaysia in their workplace, she said.
New lawyers interviewed in the study said they struggled in their job initially as they were unfamiliar with legal terminology in Bahasa Malaysia, which is predominantly used in the lower courts.
Interview data from young lawyers also suggested that Bahasa Malaysia was the more useful language in the initial period of employment.
“Considering that many legal firms expect their new lawyers to be fluent in both English and Bahasa Malaysia, this suggests a need to reconsider the use of English as the primary medium of instruction at tertiary level education.”
Nurjanaah said that a bilingual teaching policy at the faculty could ensure and help the students gain confidence in both languages.
“It may also help to put more emphasis on skills that replicate work experiences, such as mooting and presentations based on remedies drawn from research across multiple areas of law, rather than essay-writing focused on a particular legal area.
“Given time, effort and focus on communication skills, the students will be able to improve their communication abilities to become well-rounded, well-trained professionals with the ability to articulate convincingly in both English and Bahasa Malaysia, orally and in written form.” – December 17, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/english-proficiency-among-law-graduates-on-the-decline-research-shows#sthash.w9YAhMWl.dpuf

Ambiga: Stop harassing Christians

12:39PM Dec 17, 2014
By Kamles Kumar
Former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan has called on the authorities to stop harassing Christians.

She said the 10-point agreement on these issues must be explained to the police and other enforcement officials.

"Malaysia is fast gaining fame for its bible seizing activities

"I believe the public deserve to know where these orders to seize and arrest are coming from and the basis of those orders," she told Malaysiakini.

Ambiga was responding to the police seizing hymn books containing the word "Allah" from Catholic priest Cyril Mannayagam (right) in Johor.

She also concurred with views expressed by lawyer Andrew Khoo who previously said that Section 298A of the Penal Code, which was used to detain the Catholic priest, had already been declared unconstitutional in 1988 and was struck out.

"I agree with Khoo. I am particularly disturbed at the high-handed approach by the police," she added.

On Dec 5, Johor police detained Mannayagam for questioning after he had sent the hymn books for photocopying in Tangkak.

The books were meant for Orang Asli parishioners. The police however opted not to pursue a case against the priest.

Provision is too vague

Meanwhile, current Bar Council president Christopher Leong said that the provision used to detain and initially probe the priest was void as it was "too vague".

"Section 298A was in any event a bad law. It was unconstitutional because it was too vague in its definition and wide in its ambit," he told Malaysiakini in a text message.

Leong (left in photo) said that the law's defects were similar to the defects in the Sedition Act 1948, which he said lacked the "mental element of criminal intent".

"As a provision for a criminal offence, it offends the basic requirements of clarity, specificity and criminal intent.

"It also does not require the mental element of criminal intent. It therefore suffers from the same defects of the Sedition Act," he added.

The struck out law relates to the offence of causing disharmony, disunity or feeling of enmity, hatred or ill-will, or prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion.

~ Malaysiakini